Fulham have confirmed the signing of striker Darren Bent on a season-long loan from fellow Premier League side Aston Villa, with a view to making the deal permanent should the move prove a successful one.
Bent joined Villa from Sunderland in 2011 in what remains a club-record transfer, having cost an initial £18m and rising to £24m with additional clauses.
The 29-year-old has 13 appearances for England scoring four goals along the way, but he has seen his opportunities at Villa Park limited by manager Paul Lambert with a hamstring injury affecting his campaign last season along with the emergence of striker Christian Benteke – whose 19 Premier League goals were crucial in keeping the Villans in the top flight.
Bent has scored 36 goals in 63 appearances during his time with the Black Cats, but has struggled to replicate that form in the Midlands despite still scoring 25 goals in 64 matches.
The former Ipswich, Charlton and Tottenham forward actually worked with Fulham boss Martin Jol at White Hart Lane, with the Dutch manager signing Bent for Spurs in 2007.
In a statement made on the club’s official website, Jol said: “Darren Bent is a striker I have always admired. He has shown in the Barclays Premier League that he is composed and clinical in front of goal but, even if he is not scoring, he is involved in some good link-up play, creating opportunities for his teammates.
“I’m delighted that he has joined us, he gives us pace up front and I am confident that he will add to our goals scored tally this season.”
Fulham also received a boost today when last season's player of the year Sascha Riether signed a new two-year deal.
The German defender had already signed permanently after last season's loan, however there were rumours he could still return to his homeland.
Those have now been quashed with the signing of a new contract, which includes an option for a third year.
"I'm happy to have got the deal done," Riether told the club's official website.
"I like it here - I love Fulham, I love the fans, I love the club and I'm happy that we could close this deal now.
"It's the start of the season and we are well prepared so I'm looking forward to the future."